The Government is rushing a bill through Parliament which could prevent charities and a huge number of other groups from campaigning and speaking out at election times, effectively gagging civil society groups in the year up to an election.
I believe that in a democratic society, charities and campaign groups should be free to hold politicians to account. They should be free to speak out on whatever issue they choose, should it be saving badgers, solving the housing crisis, supporting veterans, or stopping global warming.
Had this Bill been law a few years ago, a lot of the work relating to phone hacking would not have been possible. The work of campaigning group Hacked Off has led to a public inquiry and significant improvements in the accountability of British newspapers.
Yet the activity and passion of the people who work in charities or campaigning groups like Hacked Off is now under threat. The #gaggingbill could shut down thousands of campaigns across our sector which we don’t think we should be silenced by this legislation.
Crucially, the House of Lords can still make a difference. On 16th December, they will be debating amendments to the #gaggingbill, and they will be looking to see if the public are still paying attention.
Please join us on Twitter and tweet at the @HouseofLords to speak out against the #gaggingbill.
Some ideas for tweets could be:
@UKHouseofLords – I haven’t forgotten about the #gaggingbill – speak out against it on Dec 16 and protect my right to a voice.
@UKHouseofLords – Stop the attack on democracy – speak out against the #gaggingbill on Dec 16
@UKHouseofLords – Free speech is under attack, as the #lobbyingbill has become the #gaggingbill . Act now and protect our democratic rights.
Please forward to your friends so they can share too – the more people opposed to this Bill the more likely it is Peers in the House of Lords will unite together to stop it.
Thank you for supporting this crucial campaign.
Civil Society must be free to speak out!
More work for IDYW members of the TWITTERATI! Oppose the Gagging Bill!